Green Hills Farm's multiple graded stakes-winning mare Voodoo Dancer snapped a three-race losing streak and reached the winner's circle for the first time in 2003 with a late-running victory in the $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Hollywood Park turf Saturday.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, who picked up his third win of the day, and trained by Christophe Clement, Voodoo Dancer defeated even-money favorite Dublino by three-quarter length in a time of 2:00 4/5 for the 1 1/4-mile test on a firm course. Megahertz was third, two lengths behind Dublino.
The 5-year-old daughter of Kingmambo, breaking from the outside post in a field of five, settled near the back of the field and tracked Dublino, ridden by Victor Espinoza into the stretch. She traveled three deep into the stretch and collared the leader inside the eighth pole, winning the drive to the wire under strong handling.
Dublino found herself running with longshot Se Vera in second and third as Damaschino, taking advantage of a lack of pace, set dawdling fractions of :26, :50 2/5 and 1:13 4/5. In a tactical race, she opened up by about a half-dozen lengths heading into the final turn and Espinoza decided to move on Dublino. The favorite quickly pounced on the leader and had a daylight lead in mid-stretch, but she could not hold off the winner. Megahertz, devoid of speed and last as they hit the stretch under Alex Solis, did not threaten the top two finishers.
"Chris told me to be patient on her and I was as patient as I could be," said Nakatani, who rode Voodoo Dancer to a 4 3/4-length victory in the Garden City Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont in September 2001. "She just laid her body down. Take nothing away from Dublino. She's all heart. But we got the job done."
Voodoo Dancer won for the first time in two starts at the 10-furlong distance while registering her second victory in three tries at Hollywood Park. Third in the Beaugay at Aqueduct in her last start May 3, she was making just her second start since November.
Earning $120,000 Saturday, she won her 10th race in 19 career starts and upped her career bankroll to $1,127,952. Lazy E Ranch in Kentucky bred Voodoo Dancer, who is out of the Danzig mare Zuri.
Sent off as the 5-2 third choice, she paid $7.20, $3.20 and $2.10. Dublino returned $2.40 and $2.10. Megahertz's show was $2.10. The $2 exacta returned $15.80. Tates Creek scratched.